Often times, when people talk about “economic development,” they reference the profession from the perspective of attracting new companies and investment to a location. While business attraction is certainly a component of the work we do, the EDD also places high priority on growing companies that are already in Charles County and doing as much as we can to help them succeed. The EDD Business Development Team is 100 percent committed to supporting local businesses and wants to be the “resources backbone” for them.
The EDD already has a number of business support services available, including two loan funds, our Small Local Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise programs, networking opportunities, and knowledge of local and regional resources for entrepreneurs. But there is more to come.
Continuing Support for Our Businesses by Getting Feedback First
This spring, the EDD Business Development Team, led by chief of business development Lucretia Freeman-Buster, will launch a new Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program to support the growth of existing businesses and to further job creation in the County. EDD representatives will conduct site visits to identify and address immediate concerns and learn more about their business needs. The EDD will then take the feedback from these visits – which is completely confidential – and identify common issues, formulate strategies, and develop an action plan to effectively address needs with new tools/services to strengthen local businesses. We believe direct feedback from our local businesses is critical in the EDD’s effort to get candid insights and suggestions – and ultimately strengthen our business support programs.
Adding Agriculture Support to the Mix
The EDD recently hired an agriculture business development manager, Martin Proulx, to expand the EDD’s reach and capacity to support farming and agricultural-related businesses. Proulx will develop and implement programs to promote and enhance the County’s rural and agricultural industries, including farming and cultivation, value-added production, craft beverage businesses, and agritourism. Another priority for Proulx is establishing and expanding partnerships with key agricultural stakeholders.
The EDD is committed to supporting our businesses. Our new BRE outreach program and additional focus on agricultural industry support are intended to help companies that are already calling Charles County home. We look forward to continuing our support for our local businesses and helping them succeed and grow.
We always want to hear from the community and our businesses, and our team is always just a phone call or email away.
Director, Charles County Economic Development Department